A KILBIRNIE woman has credited her opticians for saving her sight after a crucial referral showed she was close to losing her vision to suspected glaucoma.
Primary school classroom assistant Marion Coull, 58, was having a routine eye test at Vision Express in Braehead when her optician identified a narrowing in the drainage angle of her eye.
Concerned by Marion’s future risk of acute narrow-angle glaucoma, which can mean vision loss and eye pain which could lead to blindness, she was swiftly referred to Ayr Hospital.
“When I was told, I needed to be referred to hospital it was quite a surprise as I hadn’t had any issues with my vision,” Marion explained.
“However, I’d had regular eye tests at the Vision Express Braehead store for years and understood that you can’t always tell what’s going on with your eyes simply by how they feel.”
The consultant at Ayr Hospital advised that Marion should have preventative surgery to reduce the risk of narrow-angle glaucoma, and that her sight could deteriorate due to the fluids on her eye not being able to drain away. If left, this could damage the optic nerve that transmits images from the eye to the brain, potentially resulting in a permanent loss of vision.
Robert Fletcher, store manager at Vision Express Braehead, said: “Marion’s story highlights just how important it is to have regular sight tests. She had no discomfort or symptoms, and thanks to a quick referral and treatment, she’s had preventative surgery.
“Had Marion’s sight checks been less frequent and without surgery, she may have developed acute narrow-angle glaucoma – and faced some very unpleasant and serious symptoms, including loss of sight.”
Marion had a quick, only mildly uncomfortable procedure performed on both eyes, called a laser peripheral iridotomy. This surgery uses laser energy to create a small hole in the iris (the coloured part at the front of the eye) to help open the drainage angle and treat or prevent glaucoma.
Marion only had to take a week off from work to recover and now administers eye drops regularly. She had a check-up about a month later and now has six-month checks to ensure the glaucoma threat doesn’t return.
Marion said: “With three children and one granddaughter I have a very active life. I juggle family and work with my hobbies which include reading, walking and crafts. I’m so grateful to Vision Express for referring me to Ayr Hospital - if they hadn’t been so thorough then I could have developed glaucoma and lost part, if not all my sight which is just an awful thought.
“It’s easy to take your sight for granted, but now more than ever I appreciate how much you rely on your vision in every part of your life and what a huge impact it would’ve made if I’d lost it. What’s frightening is that I had no symptoms, so don’t wait until you have something noticeably wrong with your vision to have an eye test.”
As part of World Glaucoma Week, Vision Express will be bringing its Vision Van to Glasgow’s Enoch Square on Wednesday, March 15. The high-tech mobile testing unit will be open from 9am-5pm and local passers-by will be invited for a free eye test.